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SUMMARY

CASE OF HASSAN v. THE UNITED KINGDOM

JUDGMENT DELIVERED ON 16 SEPTEMBER 2014 - STRASBOURG

GRAND CHAMBER – EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Prior to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 by a coalition of armed forces led by the United States of America, the applicant was a general manager in the national secretariat of the Ba’ath Party and a General in El Quds Army, the private army of the Ba’ath Party. He lived in Umm Qasr, a port city in the region of Basrah. In April 2003, after the British Army had entered into occupation of Basrah, they detained the applicant’s brother. According to the applicant, this was done to force the applicant, who was wanted because of his Ba’ath Party connections, to surrender to custody. The Government denied this, stating that it was a case of mistaken identity. The applicant’s brother was subsequently taken by United Kingdom forces to Camp Bucca, a detention facility operated by the United States, although parts were also used by the United Kingdom to detain and interrogate detainees. Following interrogation by both US and UK authorities, the applicant’s brother was deemed to be of no intelligence value and, according to the records, was released on or around 12 May 2003. According to the applicant, the family had no further news of the applicant’s brother until his body was discovered some 700 kilometres away in early September 2003.

In 2007 the applicant brought proceedings in the English administrative court, but these were dismissed after the court found that Camp Bucca was a United States rather than a United Kingdom military establishment.

In his application to the European Court, the applicant alleged that his brother was arrested and detained by British forces in Iraq and was subsequently found dead in unexplained circumstances. He complained under Article 5 §§ 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Convention that the arrest and detention were arbitrary and unlawful and lacked in procedural safeguards and under Articles 2, 3 and 5 that the United Kingdom authorities failed to carry out an investigation into the circumstances of the detention, ill-treatment and death.

The court:

  1. Unanimously declared that the complaints under Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights are inadmissible;
  2. Unanimously holds that the applicant’s brother was within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom between the time of his arrest and the time of his release from the bus that took him from Camp Bucca;
  3. Unanimously declared that the complaints under Article 5 ss 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Convention are admissible;
  4. Holds, by thirteen votes to four, that there has been no violation of Article 5 ss 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Convention.

The case can be found here.